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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Gary Cooper, To Win - 213

Originally published Aug. 6, 2012
Inducted into the Brigham Young University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003, Gary Cooper told the school paper he took it as an opportunity to look back on his career.

"As an athlete, you go out to win the game," Cooper told The Universe of BYU. "This has been a great way for me to reflect on my playing days. It's a great honor for me and my family."

Cooper's career at BYU spanned from 1983 to 1986 and included a five stolen base game, The Universe wrote. His professional career that followed spanned a decade and included one brief stint in the majors.

Cooper's professional career began in 1986, taken by the Astros in the seventh round out of BYU.

Cooper started with the Astros at short-season Auburn, hitting .313 in 76 games. He moved to single-A Osceola for 1987, hitting .279 over 123 games.

Cooper first made AA in 1988 at Columbus, hitting .270. In July, Cooper picked up three hits in a game, including a three-run home run in a Columbus win.

Cooper hit AAA Tucson for 1989. He spent the year there, with a .271 average, but didn't make Houston.

Houston had to wait for two more seasons. In 1990, Cooper is only recorded as playing in 62 games, between AA Columbus and single-A Osceola. He also appears to have spent brief time at Tucson again, but did not play a game.

Cooper returned to Tucson full time for 1991, making the AAA All-Star Game. Cooper also became the National League team's MVP after hitting the game-winning, two-run double.

"I didn't really get extended, but I hit it to the short part of the park," Cooper told The Associated Press after the game. "That ball went to the right part."

That September, Cooper made it to Houston, debuting Sept. 15. Through the end of the season, Cooper got into nine games for the Astros, getting four hits in 16 at bats.

Cooper also picked up two RBIs, one in an Oct. 2 win over San Francisco, the other on a double in his final game of the year, Oct. 6. Cooper also got that final RBI in his final major league game.

Cooper played four more seasons, all in the minors. He also played them for four separate organizations, never making it back to the majors. He played his final season in 1995, at AA for the Tigers, ending his career.

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